Holiday reflections and celebrations – Albright College

Holiday reflections and celebrations

Dear Fellow Albrightians,

We made it! Six months ago we had just wrapped up a spring semester like none other. Thrown into a global pandemic in the middle of March, our Albright community quickly came together, learning new ways to teach, learn and work. And as soon as we made it through, we began thinking about the fall 2020 semester. We planned well, worked hard, and despite the spike in cases on campus in the last few weeks of the semester, we succeeded. And now, here we are in December!

It’s because of each and every one of you that we made it through a very different fall, one filled with daily challenges, multiple obstacles, and unchartered territory for all of us. But we did it – and we did it together!

Led by the staff, faculty, and students on the Pandemic Task Force, we succeeded in optimizing our campus for health and safety, and in maintaining full employment and benefits for all faculty and staff. Many colleges have not been as successful as we have this fall semester. Though I know it was often very difficult and stressful, I am so very grateful for your effort and hope that you will join me in this celebration.

And although one might think that during a global pandemic, just getting through the semester was enough, we have many other things of which to be proud. As we look forward to the upcoming winter break, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate all that we have accomplished as a community. 

  • new co-major in public policy and administration was added giving students the opportunity to learn about both theory and practice of data-driven government policy processes and be exposed to the functions and role of nonprofit organizations.
  • In addition to a new interdisciplinary minor in African American music, new musical courses explore Black popular music and Afrofuturism (a Global Humanities Connections course).
  • A terrific series of virtual Racial Healing and Reconciliation panel discussions, led by Chaplain Ibi Bangura and partners Janice Luck and Beth Kiester, were held throughout the semester.  These panels served as a forum for fostering understanding on racial issues in our community, inspiring further healthy conversations, and taking actionable steps to tackle overt and subtle racial challenges in the Albright community – part of our ongoing commitment to developing and supporting an inclusive, thriving and equitable community.
  • Following nomination and interviews, three Albright College juniors, Brigette Amendano, Phuong Chau and Erika Hollinger learned this fall that they have been accepted into the Early Assurance Program at Penn State College of Medicine — HersheyCongratulations to each of you!
  • Filling a need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Solve-It Berks and Solve-It Berks Kids launched this fall in school districts across Berks County. These programs, run through Albright’s Science Research Institute, provide free internship, mentorship and digital curriculum for all Pre-K to 12th grade students and teachers in Berks County. Check out the Solve-It Berks Kids video on the SRI YouTube channel.
  • More than 144 alumni engaged with the college this fall through virtual events such as interviews with accomplished alumni, book readings, wellness programs and trivia nights, including two of our superstar alumni – Author Bob Spitz ’71 and Actress Saidah Ekulona ’92. And, our first virtual Homecoming, held in September, engaged more than 300 alumni in a robust weekend of programming and reunions.
  • Through the hard work and dedication of our Advancement team and the generosity of our donors and friends, $5,143,682 has been raised towards our Advancing Lives Scholarship Initiative!
  • And, in addition to the $120,172 that Albright received through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (part of the CARES Act) for pandemic-related expenses when we served as a shelter in place for students last spring, we recently learned that we have been approved for a $100,000 grant through the Berks County CARES grant program for expenses such as personal protective equipment, cleaning/sanitizing supplies, testing machines and supplies, and Zoom licenses.

Clearly, despite having been through some very difficult months as we have made our way through the ebbs and flows of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have much to celebrate!

And so, as we head into the winter break, I hope that you will take time to be kind to yourself, to celebrate the holidays safely with those you care about, and to engage in those things that make you happy and bring you joy and peace. Each of us, and our Lion community together, is stronger than the many challenges that the world has presented to us this year. Let us continue to stand together, to look out for and to reach out to each other, and to place a high priority on our own self-care.

I wish each of you a season of joy and a new year filled with promise! It’s a great day to be an Albright Lion!

Warmest holiday wishes,

Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Albright College